The Official Story
Chapter 16

The Foster story in the official town history

The official town history written by Joseph North's grandson includes more than ten pages dealing with the story of Isaac Foster and his ill-fated time in Hallowell. You will see that James North describes the details of the wrangles between Foster and the town and the dismissal of the young minister. Then he concludes, "Thus ended the unfortunate connection of the first settled minister with the town."

But what about the rape case?

James North does not even mention Rebecca Foster and the charges she brought against Judge Joseph North.

What did Martha have to say about this?

The verdict of the Supreme Judicial Court
What happened to the Fosters after 1790?

Table of Contents

The History of Augusta
North, James W.
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Page 211

1787. Mr. Foster's Troubles.--Litigation. 211

Whether the legal maxim of that day, "the more truth the greater libel " was invoked against him or his proof was insufficient we are not informed. He was found guilty and fined fifteen shillings and cost. From this judgment he appealed. But Thomas Sewall who was fined twelve shillings did not appeal.1

   Capt. Sewall's case came before the court at Pownalborough in the following June, when he "feed Gen. Lithgow and Mr. Thatcher, who pleaded the absence of a material witness for a continuance." A question arose between the litigants whether the case should be continued to be tried at Hallowell or Waldoborough,2 in which they could not agree, and the Court refused a continuance. Thus Capt. Sewall "was reduced to the dilemma" of going to trial without evidence or "paying up." He wisely chose the latter.3

   The "northern company " of the militia in town elected officers April 12th, when Ezekiel Porter was chosen captain, John Shaw lieutenant, and Asa Williams ensign.

   August 6th Ephraim Ballard's saw mill on Bond's brook was burned.

   Col. North, Capt. Sewall and Ebenezer Farwell were a committee to "explore a road from Cobbosseecontee to Bowdoinham line." While on this business Thursday, August 30th, they heard, "about the middle of the afternoon," a remarkable explosion in the air, probably the same mentioned by Williamson in his history as having occurred on the 26th. The explosion appeared to them "similar to that" of the discharge "of a small cannon." They "supposed it to be the bursting of a meteor." 4

   January 8th, 1788, the Court of Common Pleas commenced the second session at Hallowell at Pollard's Inn. The grand jury were dismissed the third day and the jury of trials on the forenoon of the fifth day, "after having only one cause committed to them."

   Rev. Eliphalet Smith from Winthrop was at Capt. Sewall's house Sunday March 9th, and "attended Mr. Foster's meeting for his own satisfaction, which he amply obtained."5

   At the annual meeting £200 were raised for highways, £100 for

     1 H. Sewall's Diary.
     2 Waldoborough was a half shire town from 1786 to 1800, when the courts were removed to Wiscasset.

     3 Sewall's Diary.   4 Ib  5 Ib